Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
Griffith Gaunt
Charles Reade (1814–1884)
Griffith Gaunt, or, Jealousy, by Charles Reade (1866). Griffith Gaunt, a gentleman without fortune, marries Catharine Peyton, a Cumberland heiress, who is a devout Roman Catholic. After living happily together for eight years, the couple—each of whom has a violent temper, in the husband combined with insane jealousy—are gradually estranged by Catharine’s spiritual adviser, Father Leonard, an eloquent young priest. Griffith discovers his wife and Leonard under apparently suspicious circumstances; and after a violent scene he rides away, with the intention of never returning. He reaches an inn in an adjoining county, where he is nursed through a fever by the innkeeper’s daughter, Mercy Vint. Assuming the name of his illegitimate brother, Thomas Leicester, to whom he bears a superficial resemblance, he marries Mercy. Returning to his old home to obtain a sum of money belonging to him, he is reconciled to Catharine by her earlier adviser. Father Francis. Under a false pretext he goes back to the inn to break with Mercy; but finding it more difficult than he had anticipated, he defers final action, and returns to Cumberland. Here he is received by Catharine with furious reproaches and threats against his life; his crime having been disclosed to her through the real Leicester, and her maid Caroline Ryder. Griffith disappears; a few days after, a body that is discovered in the mere near the house is identified as his. Mrs. Gaunt is indicted for his murder, and pleads her own cause. The trial is going against her, when Mercy appears and proves that Griffith is alive, and that the body is that of Leicester. Griffith and Catharine are again reconciled, and Mercy marries Catharine’s former lover. Sir George Neville. The scene is laid in the middle of the eighteenth century. The book was harshly criticized, both in England and America, on account of its so-called immoral teachings; but a more sober judgment has given it a high place among Reade’s novels. It was dramatized by Daly in 1866, and later under the title of ‘Jealousy,’ by the author himself.  1

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